Happy New Year to each and every one of you! Between headlines about blackbirds falling from the sky and mysterious fish kills, it’s been a bit of a tough first week. But I thought I’d share a little article that caught my eye and sparked a big idea. It’s the kind of optimistic idea that will hopefully inspire you as you begin 2011.
The headline in the New York Times read, “Bali School Makes Sustainability a Way of Life.” and honestly, thoughts of warm, exotic, lush Bali caught my attention first. But as I read on, I learned about an exciting little educational experiment being conducted in a remote corner of the Pacific.
There, along a pock-marked road just past some roaming chickens, is an open-walled school. The Green School. Made almost entirely of bamboo, the school teaches more than 200 children from 40 countries, from nursery school to 10th grade. And it teaches more than the usual ABCs and 123’s. Students learn how to make paper from materials onsite, grow and thresh rice, and minimize their environmental impact.
Former jeweler John Hardy and his wife scrapped their plans for a quiet retirement after they watched “An Inconvenient Truth.” Hardy says, “We want to create future green leaders. We need green leaders. We want to teach kids that the world is not indestructible.”
Students are immersed in sustainable lessons throughout the day instead of being exposed only in science class, for instance.
Although the education system in this country has started to incorporate sustainability into its curriculum, there’s a long way to go. Yes, some socially conscious companies are providing financial support and classroom content in some cases, but why not go the next step? Why not create a consortium of socially responsible companies who will help provide financing for independent schools in this country that will develop future American leaders – businessmen and women, politicians, advocates, lawyers, teachers, scientists, philanthropists and visionaries all committed to sustainability?
And Green Schools seem like a good place to start.